Anyone Know Of A Computer I Can Debate With?

Posted in Atheism, Blogosphere, Logic, Religion, Skepticism, Thinking Critically on  | 10 minutes | 5 Comments →

I'm actually serious in asking that question. Besides skating the streets with zero cars on the road, another one of my fantasies is a supercomputer that can deduce the logical correctness of any argument. Don't get me wrong, I love debating with humans of any and all stripe. In fact, some who know me might say this is an understatement. Yet no endeavor is likely to persist in the absence of a worthwhile payoff, and every now and again I find myself getting really discouraged and sullen about debate.

Right now is one of those times and there is one simple reason for this discouragement: Humans are prone to motivations above and beyond the resolution of pure logic. Unlike computers, humans possess the peculiar ability to deny truth, and the reasons humans do this are as many as the stars in the night sky. If I ask a computer, "Is (X) = (~X)", I'm going to get a straight and honest answer. The computer can't stop to think, "Well, if I admit / deny that (X) = (~X), I'll look weak / wrong / unintelligent / contradictory."

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